Meditation is the practice by which, through certain techniques and rules, an individual can exercise their concentration, their ability to control the mind, and facilitate a calm emotional state, thus exercising the skills of emotional control.
Meditative practices have an extensive history, dating back to their probable origin in ancient India, within the Hindu tradition. From there, it spread especially throughout Asia, usually accompanying religions such as Buddhism. Today, the scientific community has verified several of the benefits of meditation on health.
In this article, we will talk about different types of meditation, as well as what are the benefits of this practice.
What is Meditation?
Today it is fashionable to meditate . This makes it much more accessible to start in these types of practices so beneficial for physical and mental health, which are even being adopted in therapeutic circles (such as Mindfulness-based therapies).
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There is no single form of meditation, nor are the benefits of each one exactly the same. Depending on our objective when meditating, it is likely that some practice attracts our attention, be it for comfort, familiarity, sociological or even spiritual context.
Meditation BenefitsMany skeptics have long viewed meditations as an exercise of very limited utility, a holdover from past religious and ceremonial practices. Fortunately, the scientific community is correcting the general view of meditation, which opens the doors for these types of beneficial practices to reach a greater number of people.
Among the many benefits of meditation proven by science, we can highlight:
1. Stress Reduction
It has been scientifically proven that meditation is capable of reducing the inflammatory response derived from stress and the high levels of cortisol it generates, aggravating many inflammatory processes.
Considering the harmful effects of constant stress in our lives, such as poorer cardiovascular health, worse cognitive capacity, or the greater probability of developing disorders such as depression or anxiety, meditation becomes a useful tool to maintain our physical health—100%.
2. Improved Emotional State
Some disorders, such as anxiety (such as phobias, social anxiety, obsessive behavior.,) are significantly alleviated in those who practice meditation regularly.
In addition, meditation exercises, such as Mindfulness, effectively reduce the intensity of depressive feelings. Some types of meditation also promote an elevated and positive emotional state, such as “Metta” meditation.
3. Improves Memory and Attention Span
Memory loss linked to old age is slowed down in those who practice meditation. This is especially true of those types of meditation that involve repetitive practice, such as repeating a mantra or hand postures.
In both the elderly and the young, the attention span is substantially increased in those people who performed meditation in their day-to-day life. This, at the work level, translates into being able to work at a higher level of concentration for longer.
4. Helps Relieve Pain
Through functional analysis of brain magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), it was possible to discern that those people who had spent a few days practicing mindfulness techniques had greater brain activity in areas related to pain control .
The patients themselves stated during the study that they had a decreased pain sensation. Meditation can also help reduce pain caused by some chronic diseases.
5. May Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be a serious health problem. Over time, it contributes to cardiovascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis. Meditation is effective in lowering blood pressure by an average of five points.
These effects were observed not only during meditation , but also lengthened in time, especially in those people who meditate regularly.
8 Common Types of Meditation
Given the age of this practice and its subjective nature, there are many different ways to meditate . In this article, we mention some of the best known today, but the types of meditation can be countless, depending on their origins, objectives, and methodology.
Vipassana- type meditation is of Buddhist origin. Vipassana means, in Pali language, something like a clear vision. In the West, this type of meditation has become an integral part of the practices known as “Mindfulness.”
This English word means something like “mindfulness,” “referring to the fact that full attention is paid to the breath during these meditative practices, especially in the meditative process’s early stages.
2. Zazen (Zen)
The Buddhist tradition of Zen meditation is well known. Zazen is a Japanese word that means “sitting meditation” or “sitting Zen.” Its roots come from the Chinese version of Zen Buddhism, called Chan Buddhism.
This meditation is characterized by the attention paid to the breath and the practice of “Shinkantaza,” the ability to observe reality without making judgments or thoughts about it. Live in the moment as much as possible.
Metta meditation is also well known in the West, partly because it influences the “Mindfulness” movement. Metta is a word that means kindness, kindness, or goodwill. In English, it is also known as “Loving-Kindness Meditation,” in Spanish, it has been named in many different ways, such as “benevolent love meditation.”
This type of meditation helps to improve the empathic capacity of those who practice it, in addition to improving the general mood and perception of oneself.
Mantras are vocalizations, usually without particular meaning, used primarily to focus the mind’s attention. Mantra meditation sometimes requires very precise vocal and postural control.
They are used in various monastic traditions, such as Hindu, Buddhist, or Taoist culture. It is sometimes known as “om meditation,” but “om” is simply one of the mantras that can be used.
Transcendental meditation is a type of meditation that uses mantras, popularized by Yogi Maharishi Mahesh through celebrities of the moment, such as the famous pop-rock band “The Beatles,” for whom he was a guru. This type of meditation is currently widely practiced in the West, but unlike other types of meditation, you will hardly find someone who can teach you this for free.
6. Yogic Meditation
Meditation used in yoga can be classified as “yogic meditation,” but there are a huge number of types of meditation included within this term. The tradition of Yoga has very ancient roots, between 2,500 and 4,000 years old.
Within Yoga’s classical practice, meditation forms a basic pillar, along with the rules of behavior, physical postures (asanas), and breathing exercises (pranayama). One of the most popular types of meditation within Yoga is the “third eye meditation,” where it is necessary to focus our attention on the point between our eyebrows and quiet the mind.
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This type of meditation, known in English as “self-inquiry” meditation, was popularized in the West by Ramana Maharshi in the 20th century. The main objective of this type of meditation is to gain knowledge about oneself.
There are several Taoist meditation practices, which are linked to the philosophy and principles of the Taoist religion. It aims to improve health as much as possible, to achieve a long life. These meditations usually have an important component of visualizing the body itself and its mechanisms, such as breathing.
Adapted and translated by The Cop Cart Staff